On a slightly chilly October morning, we met Mina Holland, deputy editor at Guardian Feast magazine, writer, author and eater, in South London. With dog Ernie in tow and freshly brewed coffee aplenty she chose her favourite pieces from our Autumn collection whilst showing us around her beautiful home. Mina has been a huge supporter of the brand for quite a while now, having discovered us back when we stocked at 99 Essex Road, and was thrilled to model and write a guest blog for us.
Enough from us and leaving it to the professional, introducing Mina ...
"It seems ironic now, but costume drama first brought me to Justine Tabak. It was the winter of 2017 and I was enraptured by the BBC’s adaption of Howard’s End. I loved the high-necked shirts in plush silks worn with rustling, long waisted skirts by Hayley Atwell as she channelled 1910. Then a friend told me about Justine’s clothes, about her line of printed silks and Irish linens; a ‘cursory’ visit to her website gave me a seductive glimpse of empire line dresses bringing all sorts of Jane Austen fantasies to life.
I say it’s ironic because ‘costume drama’ suggests qualities that Justine’s clothes don’t have – heavy, itchy, lavish, outdated, overblown, maybe even a little pretentious … But what I loved instantly was how timeless and practical her designs are. For instance, the Petticoat Lane dress, with its classic elegance that’s conducive to modern living: from work to home, cooking to dog walks, parties to hangovers and perhaps, one day, to pregnancy – any time you want good lines and generous fabric to do the work for you. Which, for me, is most of the time.
As a kid, my wardrobe alternated between dubiously patterned tracksuits and smocked empire line dresses (I’m nothing if not eclectic, even if not by choice). The track suits are ancient history now – while the dresses, once my mother’s and dating back to the 1950s, still exist today, waiting in her loft to kit out another generation. Clothes were once made to last, with good quality fabric sourced nearby, in small batches, usually by hand and in styles which – even if not achingly a la mode – have a kind of ageless style. Justine’s designs champion these same principles; she is one of a wave of designers supporting British fabrics and makers, and cares deeply about making clothes that last – that don’t, like so many high street things, fall apart after one season, and which you want to wear year after year, and ultimately pass on.
Even though they’d reeled me in, I didn’t end up buying any of those Atwell-eseque silk shirts. It was the tiered dresses in linen and needlecord that got me, of which I now own a number. You’ll often find me wearing a Petticoat Lane or, more recently, a London Fields dress; and while my wardrobe increasingly excludes other brands, I know that these are clothes that will be in there forever – whatever the season or the task at hand. I can still get excited by thinking back to Howard’s End. Perhaps it’s time to throw a costume drama party."
A huge thank you to Mina for taking the time to write and welcoming us into your lovely home. We'll be continuing Mina's story soon with one of Mina's favourite Christmassy recipes as well as some festive outfits from us, so do look out for that.